Maxlife ATF for Toyota WS

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3,870
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NEUS
After reading through a ton of WS threads, I may try some Maxlife. I need 14 quarts for my Tacoma. I'm going to do the DIY flush for the sealed unit that can be found on some of the Toyota forums. I'm only keeping the truck for another six months at the most, but it's time for new fluid in the transmission. 71k and the shifting seems to be getting rough. Real WS is $10/qt at the dealers I called. Amsoil and Red Line are the same or more. I'd really like to save a few bucks since it's not going to be a long-term investment. So, has anyone used Maxlife ATF in a WS application with success? The cSt of 6.11 seems a reasonably low viscosity and close to the WS fluid. It would be great if the alarmists could refrain from posting about my pending transmission doom. I'm just looking to see if anyone has had success.
 

Astro14

Staff member
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Here's what Valvoline says... Suitable for use in: Ford MERCON®, MERCON®V, MERCON®SP and MERCON®LV applications GM DEXRON®-II, DEXRON®-III and DEXRON®-VI applications Nissan/Infiniti Matic D, Matic J, Matic K, and Matic S applications Mitsubishi Diamond SP-II and SP-III applications Hyundai/ KIA SP-II, SP-III, SP-IV and SPH-IV applications Subaru ATF and ATF-HP applications Toyota/Lexus Type T, T-III, T-IV and WS (except hybrids) applications Honda/Acura ATF-Z1 (except in CVTs) applications Allison C4 and TES-389 applications Mercedes Benz NAG1 applications Volvo passenger car applications and STD 1273.41 Volkswagen TL52162 Voith H55.6335.33(G607) and H55.6335.33(G1363) applications I've used it with success but my A340H specifies a DEX II, not WS...so my experience is of no help. But were the truck mine, I would give it a try.
 
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CT
I used it in my 05 Tacoma. Shifted fine in winter and summer. Seemed to smooth out the trans. I put 30k on it, and traded the truck, with no problems at all. I used the cooler line flush method.
 
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7,672
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Hudson, NH
Don't!!!!!!!!!!!!! Toyota fluids are superior, your better off just leaving it alone. It says forever, but WS is good for 70-80k. When you do consider a change, No maxlife. Use Toyota tranny fluids only! or...look for a good synthetic alternative, or a regular transmission fluid thats close, then use the Lubegard products blessed by transmission manufacturers to sync up the fluid with WS. Maxlife is for an old transmission, use it then. For transmissions requiring highly friction modified fluid, I say maxlife is a no go.
 
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14,505
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Top of Virginia
Originally Posted By: LeakySeals
For transmissions requiring highly friction modified fluid, I say maxlife is a no go.
Why do you say that? First you said to use Toyota or a good synthetic alternative (which MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF is). Then you said that Maxlife is a no go. Which is it? smile
 
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1,209
Location
CA
Personally, I'd go ahead and use it too if the truck were mine. Maxlife seems like a good fluid for most transmissions. If the Vis of Maxlife is close to WS, I'd say your good. I believe this has an Aisin trans, yes? I got a case off of amazon for pretty cheap.. less than the store's cost locally. I'm planning on doing a cooler line flush on the Highlander with it.
 
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Originally Posted By: Hokiefyd
Originally Posted By: LeakySeals
For transmissions requiring highly friction modified fluid, I say maxlife is a no go.
Why do you say that? First you said to use Toyota or a good synthetic alternative (which MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF is). Then you said that Maxlife is a no go. Which is it? smile
Use Toyota WS. Better than a universal high mileage fluid. On with recommendations, whats yours?
 
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Top of Virginia
I'm curious about the apparent inconsistency in your recommendation. You said to use a good synthetic alternative. You are aware that MaxLife ATF is a fully synthetic ATF, right? By that measure, it fits in with your recommendation for a good synthetic alternative. So I'm wondering if there's a specific reason why you later recommend against it. Me, unless I'm unhappy with the performance of the OEM fluid, I generally recommend the OEM fluid. I have been unhappy with the performance of the OEM fluid in my cars, and have been using MaxLife ATF in them and it's proven to be a fine product. I still question why you specifically recommend against MaxLife in a WS application. Is the WS fluid better suited to the Toyota transmission? Perhaps. But you said MaxLife is a "no go", and so I wonder why. Cheers!
 
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I've got MaxLife in my 4Runner (calls for WS). Swapped it out ~5k miles ago. No problems. In addition to the vehicle being my wife's daily driver, we have also taken it on several longer trips (the longest being a 14 hour 1000 mile, stopping-only-for-gas drive).
 
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Milwaukee, WI
This is more for MysticGold and his Highlander but it also applies to the original poster. I've used Toyota T-IV, Mobil 1 and now Castrol Import and can't really notice any difference (in our Highlander). I even added a bottle of LubeGard red and still no difference. They all shift the same (though more firmly at first) and none has made any difference in some 1st -> 2nd flare I feel about once a week. I dunno, I always tried to stay with a jsao-1a fluid but I'm not really sure that matters. Also, my same transmission u241e went to WS a year or two after my model year. Maybe MaxLife at 120,000 miles?
 
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7,672
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Hudson, NH
Originally Posted By: bepperb
This is more for MysticGold and his Highlander but it also applies to the original poster. I've used Toyota T-IV, Mobil 1 and now Castrol Import and can't really notice any difference (in our Highlander). I even added a bottle of LubeGard red and still no difference. They all shift the same (though more firmly at first) and none has made any difference in some 1st -> 2nd flare I feel about once a week. I dunno, I always tried to stay with a jsao-1a fluid but I'm not really sure that matters. Also, my same transmission u241e went to WS a year or two after my model year. Maybe MaxLife at 120,000 miles?
I say only switch if necessary. In the case of a maxlife that would be an attempt to solve slippage or some high mileage problem requiring a seal sweller. I've been doing drains only with T-IV and the tranny is perfect at 220k. I can't speak to other manufacturers, but Toyota fluid of any kind is excellent, one of the reasons they last so long. I used maxlife in a old chevy pick up with slippage and leaks from PO neglect. Not bad. Currently use it in my PS for a slight rack leak.
 
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The Old North State
Originally Posted By: Astro14
Here's what Valvoline says... Suitable for use in: Ford MERCON®, MERCON®V, MERCON®SP and MERCON®LV applications GM DEXRON®-II, DEXRON®-III and DEXRON®-VI applications Nissan/Infiniti Matic D, Matic J, Matic K, and Matic S applications Mitsubishi Diamond SP-II and SP-III applications Hyundai/ KIA SP-II, SP-III, SP-IV and SPH-IV applications Subaru ATF and ATF-HP applications Toyota/Lexus Type T, T-III, T-IV and WS (except hybrids) applications Honda/Acura ATF-Z1 (except in CVTs) applications Allison C4 and TES-389 applications Mercedes Benz NAG1 applications Volvo passenger car applications and STD 1273.41 Volkswagen TL52162 Voith H55.6335.33(G607) and H55.6335.33(G1363) applications....
OT Ahh, it appears the ML has very recently updated it's pdf to include Mercon V, which corresponds to what a poster was told recently by a Valvoline customer service rep. It's not on the gallon jug I received from Wally last month. To the topic, I'm currently running ML in my Tacoma, but it spec's Dexron II/III. I don't see why it wouldn't work fine in your Tacoma as listed in the ML suitable for, but I have no experience with it either. At $10/qt for the Toyota stuff though, ML looks like a good alternative to me. Just me, but I'd go for it.
 

Bandito440

Thread starter
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3,870
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NEUS
I guess my point was that I'd like something that costs less than the WS. Maxlife is half the cost, the viscosity is close, and it's a quality synthetic.
 
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7,672
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Hudson, NH
Understandable. Unlike changing motor oils, changing transmission oils has increased risk associated with it. Weigh your savings in fluid costs vs. a tranny rebuild, then go with your gut.
 
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14,505
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Top of Virginia
Originally Posted By: LeakySeals
I say only switch if necessary. In the case of a maxlife that would be an attempt to solve slippage or some high mileage problem requiring a seal sweller.
The version of MaxLife ATF you are probably using, and the one to which most are referring when they mention the product, doesn't contain a seal-swelling agent. The red-cap MaxLife ATF contains "seal conditioners", but not "seal swellers". The yellow-cap MaxLife ATF does contain additives to help stop leaks. Although the red-cap MaxLife ATF is part of the MaxLife product family, it does not contain any additives for stopping leaks. If you are talking about the yellow-cap MaxLife ATF, then I would agree with you that it wouldn't be as appropriate for a transmission that's not otherwise leaking.
 
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Beaverton, OR
Originally Posted By: LeakySeals
Understandable. Unlike changing motor oils, changing transmission oils has increased risk associated with it. Weigh your savings in fluid costs vs. a tranny rebuild, then go with your gut.
Ashland stands behind their product. If they say it is a suitable replacement for a certain fluid, if your trans fails because of it, they request that you contact their hotline to get assistance. As far as friction modified fluids go, I have an Acura, and anyone whose been around Hondas know their Auto Trans suck and are very picky. With one refill from Z1 to Maxlife, my trans has been shifting better than ever. And Honda has very particular requirements for their ATF. So I say go for it, its an excellent fluid. Am running it personally in my 2003 Acura, gf's 2005 Civic and my sister's 2005 Camry 4 Cyl without any issues.
 
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Messages
1,403
Location
Beaverton, OR
Ohhh and we have literally used it in hundreds of cars that we service at the shop, either as drain/fill or flushes. Not ONE has come back yet with any transmission slippage/failure issues. Used it in Hondas, toyotas, hyundais, kias, GM, etc etc without any issues. As long as you follow what application Ashland recommends it for, you will be fine. It is an EXCELLENT atf for the money.
 
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ottawa
I have been using Maxlife in my sisters 06Yaris that specs WS, for over two years now, driving +50,000kms. Great shifting, especially in the super cold winter months. I have personally used Maxlife in numerous cars over the years, an 04RAV4, 02KiaSephia, 08Versa, 06Camary - all with great results!!!!!
 
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7,672
Location
Hudson, NH
Originally Posted By: nicholas
I have been using Maxlife in my sisters 06Yaris that specs WS, for over two years now, driving +50,000kms. Great shifting, especially in the super cold winter months. I have personally used Maxlife in numerous cars over the years, an 04RAV4, 02KiaSephia, 08Versa, 06Camary - all with great results!!!!!
Thanks for commenting. Were they complete changes, or drains over time?
 
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